Jun 24, 2016
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Out of Africa and onto the Paris catwalks

Jun 24, 2016

Louis Vuitton staged a punkish African safari-themed Paris menswear show Wednesday in fittingly stifling heat.

Louis Vuitton - Spring-Summer2017 - Menswear - Paris - © PixelFormula

With model Kate Moss and footballer David Beckham melting in the front row, the fashion house that made its name from its steamer trunks in an age of more refined travel, gave the aristocratic "Out of Africa" look a rakishly punk twist.

Vuitton's British artistic director Kim Jones -- who grew up in Kenya and Botswana -- said he wanted to give the gentleman traveller a modern makeover.

His spring-summer collection for 2017 was unapologetically macho, a big game hunter gone native, with lots of African touches that go beyond the crocodile and ostrich-skin coats and jackets in Savannah-bleached shades.

"There's always a little London hidden somewhere though," said Jones, who cut the safari motifs with lots of tartan and punkish zips, belts and "dog collar" leather chokers.

He also commissioned the famously provocative British artists Jake and Dinos Chapman to create a bestiary of four twisted animal prints featuring giraffes and rhinos.

Tartan was also strongly present in a number of other shows, running through Kolor's collection on Thursday, having popped up the previous day in another Japanese brand Facetasm's Paris debut.

And the trendy French brand OAMC went the whole hog with check Crombie-style coats and trousers.

But the most striking looks on the catwalk Thursday were lightyears away from designers' traditional references.

The American designer Rick Owens channelled the Neil Young song "After the Goldrush" with his voluminous "jumbo bodybags" in which men would wrap themselves to shelter from the coming "ecological doom".

Their oversized proportions, however, gave his models a few tricky moments as they tripped on the trousers that Owens had specifically designed to "drag on the floor".

The half-Iranian Barcelona-based German designer Boris Bidjan Saberi seemed also to be dressing his men for a post-apocalyptic future in gorgeously distressed leather and suede grey and ochre combinations -- think chic "Mad Max" -- set off with corsets-cum-cumberbands.

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